I shop regularly at Whole Foods, and to be honest never thought to check if what I dropped in my cart contained high fructose corn syrup, I just assumed it didn't. Then, last week, this popped up in my email from Parrish Placencia, a regional grocery buyer for the store:
Re: High fructose corn syrup-unacceptable ingredient
"We have historically sold only a very few products that contain high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient, our shoppers have expressed growing concerns about its pervasive use in some products like soft drinks, baked goods, jams, jellies, breads, cereals and condiments. Based on these concerns, we will not allow the use of high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient in products sold in our stores as of January 1, 2011."
Wait, is this some sort of marketing ploy? I mean, could such an initiative really be that hard? I emailed Parrish to find out how many stores and products this new initiative would affect. Her response: "No comment."
After a little research, I found customers have been complaining about HFCS in Whole Foods for some time. HFCS pops up in the usual places: ketchup, steak sauce, salad dressing. Most surprising though, it's been found in pastries and cookies from Whole Foods own bakery. I assumed, as I'm sure did many others, the high prices these goods carry compared to those in conventional stores was due to high-quality, conscientious ingredients. Apparently, that's not so.
While, it's encouraging some Whole Foods are cutting the ingredient from store shelves, what about a national policy? I sincerely doubt, given today's knowledge, products containing the GMO-ridden, nutrient void ingredient would make it to the shelves of "SaferWay," Whole Foods original name when it was founded to be the first natural foods supermarket and a healthier alternative to SafeWay.